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National Sawdust+ Presents Anat Cohen Tentet Featuring a Conversation with Actor and Writer Jon Glaser (Oct 30); Music and Readings Hosted and Curated by Novelist Jacqueline Woodson and Brain Pickings’ Maria Popova (Dec 14 & Jan 27)

National Sawdust today announced upcoming programs in the National Sawdust+ (NS+) series, a key part of the venue’s mission to make the space a place for discovery, conversation, and ideas. Curated by Elena Park, NS+ continues to bring artists and thinkers together for stimulating, and often unexpected, events in the intimate Williamsburg space.

In its second season, NS+ will present the recently-formed Anat Cohen Tentet, fresh from its acclaimed run at the Newport Jazz Festival. The October 30 performance will be preceded by a conversation featuring actor, writer and comedian Jon Glaser with Cohen and Tentet musical director Oded Lev-Ari. On December 14, award-winning writer Jacqueline Woodson hosts an evening called “Another Brooklyn” (also the name of her recent novel); the evening will showcase voices from her borough in readings and music, including that of multi-faceted writer and musician Carl Hancock Rux. On January 27, reader and writer Maria Popova (creator of the popular website, Brain Pickings) hosts a celebration of cultural and personal heroes. Musicians including singer-songwriters Dawn Landes, Warren Malone, and Morley and composer Mohammed Fairouz will share original compositions paying homage to luminaries, from Amelia Earhart to James Baldwin, and perform covers of songs by their own greatest musical heroes.

Additional NS+ events, including Sunday talks, will be announced soon.

National Sawdust+ presents The Anat Cohen Tentet
featuring a conversation with actor, writer and comedian Jon Glaser
Sunday, October 30 at 8pm

After a rousing run at the Newport Jazz Festival, Israeli clarinet virtuoso Anat Cohen brings her Tentet to her home borough of Brooklyn. With musical director Oded Lev-Ari, she continues to develop an evocative, exciting program centered around the clarinet, featuring an unlikely group of instruments. While the performance treads ground commonly associated with that instrument – from swing to folk to klezmer – it also travels through acoustica, rock and Brazilian pop as it tells the story of the clarinet. The charismatic musician embodies the instrument’s many different possibilities, with a gang of young lions and lionesses weaving a rich tapestry of sounds.

Actor and writer Jon Glaser (Girls, Parks and Recreation, Trainwreck) takes a break from his new show (Jon Glaser Loves Gear) to join Cohen and Lev-Ari in a pre-concert conversation, moderated by NS+ curator Elena Park. The artists will talk about their respective crafts, from scripted acting and precisely-notated music to the freedom – and potential terror – of improv.

An established bandleader and prolific composer, Anat Cohen uniquely blends modern and traditional jazz, classical music, Brazilian choro, Argentine tango, and an expansive timeline of Afro-Cuban styles. The perennial winner of “Clarinetist of the Year” titles from DownBeat, JazzTimes, and the Jazz Journalists Association, Cohen has been credited by Fresh Air’s Terry Gross with “bringing the clarinet to the world” and hailed by the New York Times as a “Master.”

National Sawdust+ curated and hosted by Jacqueline Woodson
Wednesday, December 14 at 9:30pm

On the heels of her acclaimed novel, Another Brooklyn, award-winning writer Jacqueline Woodson (Brown Girl Dreaming, Miracle’s Boys) hosts an evening of readings and music showcasing voices from her borough. Poet, playwright, novelist and musician Carl Hancock Rux makes a welcome return to National Sawdust, joining Woodson in readings of their respective works, and performing some music. Special guests will be announced.

Jacqueline Woodson is the 2014 National Book Award Winner for her New York Times bestselling memoir, Brown Girl Dreaming, which was also a recipient of the Coretta Scott King Award, a Newbery Honor Award, and an NAACP Image Award. She was named the Young People’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation. Her latest novel, Another Brooklyn, is a National Book Award Finalist in Fiction. Woodson is the author of more than two dozen award-winning books for young adults, middle graders and children; among her many accolades, she is a four-time Newbery Honor winner, a four-time National Book Award finalist, and a two-time Coretta Scott King Award winner.

National Sawdust+ curated and hosted by Maria Popova
Friday, January 27 at 7:30pm

In this National Sawdust+ evening, Maria Popova curates a celebration of cultural and personal heroes. Musicians perform original compositions paying homage to luminaries, from Amelia Earhart to James Baldwin, and covers of songs by their own greatest musical heroes. Popova hosts an intriguing lineup including singer-songwriters Dawn Landes, Warren Malone, and Morley, an appearance by 13-year old guitarist Gibson Malone, and an original piece by composer Mohammed Fairouz in collaboration with Popova.

Maria Popova is a reader and a writer, and writes about what she reads on Brain Pickings (, which is included in the Library of Congress archive of culturally valuable materials. She has also written for the New York Times, Wired UK, and The Atlantic, among others, and is an MIT Fellow. She is on Twitter as @brainpicker.

About National Sawdust+

From rocker Patti Smith to thinker Jad Abumrad to artist Marina Abramovic, National Sawdust+ gives leading figures in the world of film, theater, media, literature, and art a platform to share their musical passions with the Williamsburg audience, and to explore ideas with musicians and composers they admire. Curated by Elena Park, the series is part of the diverse programming of National Sawdust, a non-profit music venue under the direction of Creative & Executive Director Paola Prestini, which is dedicated to exploration and discovery.

In its first season, NS+ Concerts were curated by RadioLab’s Jad Abumrad; distinguished directors Richard Eyre, Michael Mayer, and Julie Taymor; writer Adam Gopnik; and visual artist Elizabeth Peyton. These artists showcased their deep musical interests, from spirituals to Broadway, opera to punk and indie rock – often in revealing, personal conversation with the musicians they presented. Programs ranged from Taymor’s “Made in Brooklyn,” which featured the work of composers hailing from that artistically fertile corner of New York including Copland, Gershwin, John Corigliano, and Elliot Goldenthal (the latter two were interviewed by Taymor during the evening), to Mayer’s Laura Nyro Night, with performers such as Jeanine Tesori (Fun Home; Caroline or Change) and Pulitzer-Prize winner Michael Cunningham (The Hours) sharing their love for an extraordinary muse.

NS+ Talks have paired luminaries from different walks of life, sometimes crossing genres, other times crossing disciplines. The hour-long conversations have featured Marina Abramovic + Laurie Anderson, Patti Smith + Waltraud Meier, Meredith Monk + Yuval Sharon, Terry Riley + François Girard, and Jad Abumrad + Caroline Shaw. A special podcast series to share the National Sawdust+ programs is in development.


Tickets at $35 for these NS+ programs are available at and 646-779-8455.


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© 21C Media Group, October 2016


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